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Pheww, Getting Back to Some Semblance of Order

September 8th, 2019 at 02:29 pm

Hey! I actually can cross off an item that's been on my goals list for years. Our painters have come and gone (with a chunk of cash), and we really love the look of the family room. It's an interesting room; it started life as an attached double garage which the previous owners transformed into a large family room with cedar wainscoting and a knotty pine ceiling and exposed beams.

It's always been the center of our family life but the berber carpet was awful and the wood was just too darn dark. So while we've left the beams their original wood, the ceiling and wainscoting are white and the walls are a sort of duck egg blue. We've moved most of the furniture back in and are re shelving books, attaching new switch plate covers and trying to decide which furniture and artwork will stay and what will go.

It looks so fresh. I'm so happy to have it done.

In other news, I edited a thesis early in the week and am awaiting payment. Classes are going full speed, and now the planning for spring scheduling begins. Tomorrow night DD and I are off to a class on writing college essays. So much happening so it's especially good to feel a bit more organized.

Catching Up

March 9th, 2019 at 07:07 am

The last month has sort of been a whirlwind, and it's good to be back reading everyone's blogs on SA. It's been extremely busy at work as we're trying very hard to hire for two new faculty positions. We have eight candidates chose; the seventh came on Thursday to speak, and the eighth arrives Monday. All of this has meant lunches, lectures, campus tours on top of the usual mayhem of the semester. And this is my first semester writing employee annual evaluations. And we've hosted professional development sessions. And my part-time class starts Monday.

And that's just my work. Our DD is enjoying her new part-time job with all the thrills that go with a paycheck and bank account. She is tired. She's also been very busy with theatre as they have two more performances of Mamma Mia. There have been a couple of weeks of craziness as she tried to balance that with school work, 6am meetings of the French Honor Society, bake sales, you name it. We are both longing for spring break.

DH is enjoying his class and his contract has been renewed for another three months. Although we odn't like the uncertainty of contract work, he is making more money than he ever has. That's been a good thing. And he still has free lunch and bus fare there from his student bus card.

We are pondering a trip to France for DD. Her French teacher is from Lyon, and the advanced French students are offered the opportunity to travel to a Francophone country every two years. The cost is, well, yuck. It would be Summer 2020 as she graduates. They've offered us ways to reduce the cost including hosting a French student for a few weeks this summer and deciding early. These would save about $350--about 10% of the cost of the trip. We will sit down and talk this through in the next two weeks as she'll have to write the application letter in French which might take a bit.

She is also looking at more colleges, including British universities. So much to think about.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about France too. Two months before I take off with my BFF.

New Month

February 1st, 2019 at 06:49 pm

Goodbye, January. The ghost of you will reappear in our heating bills, but it's nice to close the door on that cold, hard month. And it's nice to get paid. I also hope we can move on from all of our car bills, dental bills, etc.

In fun news, my DD opened a bank account today. She started her after school jojb orientation. Between that, the theatre, and all her schoolwork, she is going to be very busy.

I haven't spent a dime in days, but did contribute today to a friend's nephew's gofundme page. He's 27, has two children, and has just been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

It's time to buckle down for a serious pantry/freezer cleanout. I'd like to spend as little as possible this month--just milk and fresh fruit and veg. That's all for tonight.

$2 Coffee and Then the Darn Dentist

January 15th, 2019 at 06:21 pm

I led a brainstorming session with colleagues today, spending only$2 on coffee. But then there was the follow-up dental appointment where the hygienist had me somehow convinced that I needed additional lab work to help determine the cause of my periodontal disease. To the tune of $150. I'm glad I decided on the fancy/expensive dental insurance this year. I have a feeling it's going to be an expensive year for my mouth (again).

A thrifty dinner of cauliflower cheese ensued. DD had a phone interview for a job this afternoon. She's eager for her first real job at the advanced age of 16. I hope it works out.

Different Sorts of Days

December 8th, 2018 at 01:54 pm

I had to laugh at an encounter with a student group yesterday. I ran into them in our library coffeeshop, and they were surprised to see me, asking if I didn't have Fridays off. It's a week until the end of the semester--nobody has a day off, even on weekends.

But yesterday was filled with staff meetings, class scheduling issues, and then a wonderful few hours evaluating freshman research projects. We've been encouraging veteran instructors to help their students develop research projects and mentor them. I looked at projects from history, English, and psychology which were all so well done and interesting. And there was food! I cannot tell you how welcome a huge plate of vegetables and a lovely urn of coffee is in the middle of a day like that.

Two more student meetings followed--then off to the History Department to see my husband receive his award--where there was MORE FOOD. I think I should have been a historian--what lovely people, gracious and charming.

And then home to grade more projects of varying quality. So these late semester days are different, but bless the folks who order in food to keep us going.

Our DD did her first stab at the college entrance exams this morning. No news for weeks, but she can breathe a sigh of relief that it's over for a bit. And she's been made the head of costumes for their upcoming production of Mamma Mia.


Back to grading and how to improve this assignment next time.

Ugh, Busy

October 18th, 2018 at 07:05 pm

Not much time to write lately,and I miss you all. School is very busy, many meetings, some challenging students, and the usual pile of grading and prep.

DD is also busy with school, theater, and friends. I'm so glad we bought the Harry Potter Sunday movie package together. We just saw the 6th one on Sunday, and it's a nice time for us to sit down together, chat on the way, and just plain relax. It was parent/teacher conferences tonight, and they all love her. She's doing very well. She's got three AP classes, two languages, and a full slate of theater assignments. Honestly, her life exhausts me.

We drove to her school together this morning at 6:45 as we baked two coffee cakes for the French Honor Bake sale and she couldn't balance it all. I headed to school right after that. That's the kind of schedule we've been handling lately.

I have a weekend filled with grading and prep, but hope to get outside some. I need to tackle garden clean up. DH is hanging in there with the new job, but they've only paid him for a week so far. His ear checkup is tomorrow, so hopefully he can go back to the gym and start more normal activities.

Two months to our London trip!

Lots to Report

September 9th, 2018 at 02:21 pm

Hmm--It's been a week or so since last I blogged, and what a busy week it's been. DH had more interviews, but has taken the contract at his former employer that he left about 20 months ago. It's a great hourly rate, and honestly, he really likes it there. We think he starts on Wednesday after all the checks. Glad we got his drug test in before his surgery.

So yes, he's also had ear surgery. Last Thursday we drove to a hospital about an hour west of us at (ugh) 4:30 a.m. for his stapedectomy. He's never had any surgeries or much medical, and he was a nervous wreck. But all went well, and I think he was a bit sobered by folks getting pacemakers, stents, and much more serious things. We'll know in a few weeks how successful it's been restoring his hearing. Right now his ear is full of packing which will be removed on Friday

School started for DD; all's well there. School also started for me, and while my classes seem fine, my new administrative function is headache inducing. There are plenty of my colleagues who would rather not speak to one another, so they've decided I'm their intermediary. Because I'm in charge of class scheduling, I've had everything from pleas, to demands, to outright anger about next semester's schedule. All of a sudden I can see who the easy folks are, and who is decidedly difficult. It's going to be an interesting time.

This afternoon DD and I bought a Harry Potter package at the local theater. We got tickets for 9 shows--all the Potter movies and Fantastic Beasts for $27. We go the next eight Sundays. I really enjoyed seeing HP1 on the big screen. So much grander than DVDs at home.
It's fun for us to hang out too--if there's a week I can't go, she can always take a friend.

I've been busily using our garden and CSA veggies. Friday night it was Southern Tomato Pie, followed by Croatian Chicken last night, and tonight veggie curry.
Time to ramp up a bit of frugality. We've been too lax lately.

AN UFM Fail but a Birthday Success

July 11th, 2018 at 08:30 am

My UFM has gone off the rails. I have plenty of excuses, the major one being my daughter's 16th birthday yesterday. I guffawed through articles about what to do for a 16th birthday that included new cars, trips abroad, and a cake made of rolled up dollar bills.
But DD was hesitant about her birthday plans, and decided at the last minute what she'd really like is a whole day with her BFF, especially since the BFF recently moved back near us. I was just the driver and offerer of options. They decided on an hour or so at Target where they bought nothing and looked at everything, followed by a trip to the amazing ethnic grocery next store where I bought olive oil, and they spent 35 minutes looking at imported squid, Polish candy, Mexican peppers, Turkish grape leaves, and just about everything else you can think of. I remember very well loving trips like that with my friends when I was that age. On to the Humane Society where I fell in love with a dog and they fell in love with a cat. Lots of petting but no adopting. We then had lunch in Milwaukee's funky third ward followed by more odd shopping. They spent, I kid you not, 60 minutes looking at succulents. Then we all had pedicures, paddled boats on the lake, followed by dinner at PF Changs and more d**m shopping for them.

I kept up my cheerful demeanor, but by the end of the evening, I let them shop and goof around while I sat in a comfy chair at Barnes and Noble. DD loved the day; it'll take me days to recover. And today won't be frugal either as I'm meeting DH for lunch to cheer on English football. Frugality will resume, but it's likely to be next week. Hey, she's only 16 once.

The UFM Begins and a Fun June Ends

July 2nd, 2018 at 09:55 am

We spent the weekend in Madison so DH and I could work on his history project and DD could tour UW Madison. Great hotel with some nice dinners out, but it was sweltering which put a damper on some plans. We met up with a former student, swam in the hotel pool, and enjoyed their lovely free breakfasts as well as the huge Farmers' Market. As an employee of UW Madison poorer sister campus, I was blown away by their fabulous facilities and beautiful setting. I go there at least once a year, but am always impressed--as was DD. Their offerings tick a lot of her "want" boxes.

We came home to a very warm day, but managed to unpack and get some laundry in before our power blew out with a strong rainstorm about 4. No electricity until midnight, but everything appears to have survived in the freezer and fridge.


Today's plans include a trip to the gymn, DD's French lessons, some meal prep for the week, and perhaps dinner with friends. Thankfully I have a gift card just waiting to be redeemed for dinner. My dear friend is headed back to AZ on the 5th, and I'm eager to see her again before she goes.

Finishing Up the School Year

June 7th, 2018 at 07:23 pm

Our DD finishes up her sophomore year tomorrow. Not sure where those last two years went, but she's such a great kid. She and I spent part of the afternoon looking at gyms. We're thinking of a no-contract easy plan at a gym close to our house for the summer. She's been applying for jobs, but hasn't heard from her top pick yet, and she wants to keep busy. I'm sure she can find some pick-up work from a couple places, and she's volunteering at the local Alliance Francaise and library.

The university still seems to have a chunk of me for the summer. I had another grant meeting this morning, and will start planning for the fall pretty soon. I have lots of new ideas. Yesterday we got the news of our student writing competition, and one of my students took second place, so I'm delighted for her. Too bad it meant another long meeting with my least favorite colleague, but I got through it without opening my big mouth.

I got some CVS bargains on toothpaste and a few other things, but spent no other money today. And I'm meeting another dissertation editing client tomorrow. I really enjoy dissertation editing, and think i'll start on hers over the weekend. In another bits of cash, I filed for flex money on my new glasses, and I'm subbing for a colleague for $200 on Monday night. I've been a bit antsy since coming back from California, but now the summer looks better. Lots to do but I'm eager to jump in.

Quiet Monday

January 29th, 2018 at 07:37 pm

It was a quiet day today which was particularly welcome since our daughter woke up at 1 am sick to her stomach. I didn't sleep much after that trying to listening to her, but managed to struggle up and out for my 8am class. Today's spending was just coffee, and then I headed home to take the next shift with the ill one and send my husband off to work. She appears to have revived as the day went on, so we watched Netflix, I graded papers, and we had simple lunches and dinners mostly from the pantry and from leftovers.

Not much other news--school has started in earnest, so plenty to do there.

I'm planning an early night to try to recoup some sleep. Lots on tomorrow's schedule.

The Whole Tooth

August 17th, 2017 at 08:58 am

Yesterday was all about the teeth, thankfully not mine for a change. My DD got her bottom braces removed and is just on retainers on the top and bottom. We finished the $100 co-pay several months ago, so it won't make a difference in our outlay, but she is ready for corn on the cob. We'd scheduled a cleaning with the regular dentist a few hours later, but when we arrived, learned the hygienist was ill and we've had to reschedule. It would've been nice it they'd have called!

I haven't done a big shop since we got home, so we've been mostly eating from the freezer. On the way back from the dentist I bought a new things to fill in until tomorrow or Saturday. I'm going to try to crank the grocery bill down, especially with CSA veggies coming today. Our CSA e-mail said they're done with summer squash deliveries for the year, but we're welcome to come and glean. We just might. They're about 30 minutes from us, and while we don't really need the zukes, it might be worthwhile for all of us to visit. Plus I love the idea of gleaning--all Ruth and Naomi and that. I saw a fabulous French film a few years ago about potato gleaners that really stuck with me.

As I wrote on Patient Saver's blog, my DD earned/won several reading prizes at the library. For reading 2000 pages, she got a new hardcover she'd been wanting and was entered into a drawing for other prizes. In that drawing she'd won 7 new manga titles. She's over the moon. I encouraged her to apply for the teen council at the library too thinking it might be a way into a PT job when she's old enough, and she was accepted there as well. How fun!

I'm prepping for classes and reading capstone projects. Two read in two days means $150. I'm also going to call ATT to see if we can pare down our bill. Like CCF, I'm focused on that big goal. Towards that, I've deposited $125 from Swagbucks--mostly rebates on travel.

Wonder Woman

June 14th, 2017 at 07:38 am

Wonder Woman was fun--DD, her BF, and I enjoyed it a lot--especially at $5 each with free popcorn. I'm not a huge fan of those comic book films, but it was refreshing to see a woman in the lead role. An added bonus for me was that I saw them filming parts of it last year in Trafalgar Square--and I recognized those scenes in the film. DD and I went for a long walk, made stuffed shells for dinner, and I started my office cleaning. I'm going to get more of it done today. The movie was the only spending yesterday.

Sending out thoughts and prayers to the folks affected in the big apartment block fire in London and the congressional shootings at the baseball field in the Washington area.